A root canal is a dental procedure that is necessary when the pulp (the soft tissue inside a tooth) becomes infected or inflamed. During a root canal, the dentist will remove the infected or inflamed pulp, clean and shape the inside of the tooth, and then fill and seal the tooth with a material called gutta-percha.
The length of time it takes to perform a root canal can vary depending on a number of factors, including the location of the affected tooth, the severity of the infection or inflammation, and the complexity of the tooth’s root structure.
On average, a root canal can take anywhere from one to three hours to complete. However, it is not uncommon for the procedure to be done in two or more appointments, especially if the tooth is particularly complex or if there are multiple canals that need to be treated.
During the procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth with local anesthesia, which may take several minutes to take effect. Once the area is numb, the dentist will make a small hole in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber.
Next, the dentist will use special instruments to remove the infected or inflamed pulp from the inside of the tooth, and will clean and shape the canals to prepare them for filling. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the complexity of the tooth.
Once the canals have been cleaned and shaped, the dentist will fill them with gutta-percha and seal the tooth with a temporary filling. In some cases, a permanent filling or crown may be placed at a later appointment.
After the procedure is complete, the tooth may be sore or tender for a few days, and it is important to avoid chewing or biting with the affected tooth until it has fully healed.
Why Do Root Canals Take Two Visits?
Root canals can take one or two visits, depending on various factors such as the severity of the infection or inflammation, the number of canals in the tooth, and the complexity of the tooth’s root structure. In some cases, a dentist may need to perform a root canal in multiple visits to ensure that the tooth is properly treated and the infection is fully removed.
Here are some of the reasons why a root canal may take two visits:
- The infection is severe: If the infection is particularly severe, the dentist may need to perform the root canal in stages to allow the infection to heal before completing the procedure. This can help to prevent complications and improve the success rate of the treatment.
- Multiple canals need to be treated: Some teeth have more than one canal, and these can be difficult to access and treat. In these cases, the dentist may need to perform the root canal in multiple visits to ensure that all of the canals are properly cleaned and filled.
- The tooth needs time to heal: After the first visit, the dentist may place a temporary filling in the tooth to allow it to heal before completing the root canal. This can help to reduce the risk of complications and improve the success rate of the treatment.
- The tooth needs to be monitored: In some cases, the dentist may need to monitor the tooth over a period of time to ensure that the infection has been fully removed and the tooth is healing properly. This may require multiple visits to the dentist.
Overall, the number of visits required for a root canal will depend on the individual case and the dentist’s assessment of the tooth. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions and attend all scheduled appointments to ensure that your tooth is properly treated and restored.